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Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid celebrates his 50th goal of the season against the Boston Bruins in Edmonton on Feb. 27.JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

Monday night ought to have been a bit of a watershed moment for the NHL. The Oilers played the Bruins. Connor McDavid scored his 49th and 50th goals of the season.

Elsewhere, this would be a really big deal. But not in Edmonton. There’s no point in celebrating what you never stop talking about.

McDavid is the best hockey player in the world. How do we know that? Because people keep saying it. The new done thing in the NHL is to point out that McDavid is not just good, but the absolute greatest, every time his name is mentioned. In their game story from Monday night, the local Edmonton paper said it twice.

Fifty may not sound like much to a lot of people, but you have to think in deflationary terms. Fifty goals in 2023 would get you 60 in 1983. Right now, 50 is a lot.

Based on the rate he’s going, McDavid may end up with 70. He’d be the first NHLer to do it in 30 years.

You wouldn’t think a guy with these statistics would require so much reassurance. He doesn’t just lead the league in goals, assists and points. He’s so far out ahead of everyone else that he could put a few in his own net and still win the scoring triple crown. People ought to be talking more about this.

Except there’s the problem of winning. As in, there hasn’t been any. That’s an issue and people don’t know how to discuss it.

Monday was a good example – McDavid scored 50 and the Oilers lost. There’s no shame in losing to the Bruins this year. They’ve got four lines coming over the boards at you like the Light Brigade. The Oilers made it close – 3-2 – which on a lot of nights is as good as tying Boston.

But in a game that could’ve made a real impression, with McDavid playing at his best-in-the-world peak, the Oilers couldn’t deliver.

That’s the Oilers M.O. every year, all year long. McDavid plays out of his mind. Most of the rest of the team declines to join him.

Edmonton is in the mix in the West, in the way that everyone in the West is in the mix. Just about every team took February off. Maybe this is a new kind of load management – resting your best players while also playing them 20 minutes each night.

The one thing keeping Edmonton from an old-fashioned freakout is – who else? – Calgary.

The Flames won the off-season, which may have convinced them they could work four-day weeks during the on-season. Whenever an expensively and complicatedly assembled should-be-good-but-isn’t Calgary team is in the midst of collapse, the weather is sunny in Edmonton.

But the Oilers are nowhere near provincial bragging rights.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Edmonton is four points off the conference lead, and six points off falling out of the playoffs. Based on their recent run of form, it’s going to be a near thing.

If that happens, how will the Oilers explain it to themselves? They have the best hockey player in the world. No one’s arguing with that. And then what?

McDavid’s failure to launch isn’t just a local problem. It’s an NHL problem. What league in the world is failing more spectacularly at featuring its most valuable human resource? Besides going broke in desert boom towns, this is the NHL’s only other claim to global supremacy.

You can’t fix the postseason, but you can fix how you talk. So McDavid isn’t just very good any more. He’s the best. The best of the best. Maybe the best ever. No superlative is enough any more.

Right now, the Oilers fan base is getting that terrible feeling that nothing’s going to change at the trade deadline. But the franchise has been so beaten down over the last decade that it will highlight any scrap of good news every chance it gets.

They’re not wrong to spend so much time mooning over McDavid. On a nightly basis, he shows us what hockey isn’t and still might be. If a couple of dozen more guys skated like him, saw like him, played four-dimensional chess like him, hockey would be a different game.

But so far, it hasn’t added up to anything concrete. McDavid, 26, is headed for the elephant graveyard of great players who proved through their individual brilliance that hockey is a team game.

The one thing that could be said for it is that it’s a club of one. McDavid would be the first top-five or top-10 player of all time who didn’t win a Stanley Cup. Most of them have multiples.

Hence the subtle urgency of convincing everyone that McDavid’s career isn’t being wasted scoring spectacular goals for a team that can’t win.

In his way, McDavid is the most resilient athlete in the game. There’s only so much he can do, but year after year, he manages to do a bit more. Every season, the team around him is juggled. Sometimes it’s a light jostling. Sometimes it’s a great shake. No change. He’s on his fourth head coach in eight years.

There is no possibility of a rebuild. You can’t rebuild a team that features the Best Player in the World™. You can’t trade him either. That’s a professional death sentence. All you can do is nibble around the edges and hope for the best.

At this point, McDavid can’t be any better and it’s hard to imagine how all the mismatched pieces around him suddenly slot into place. It’ll have to be down to a hellacious, two-month run of luck. Something like what the Canadiens put together two seasons ago. How often does that happen?

If you are the best, this must be a weird place to live. Knowing you can do anything down on the ice, but that you have no say over the chemistry experiment happening in the C-suites above.

Maybe Edmonton has that run of luck this year, or next, or the one after. It’s certainly more likely with a player like McDavid on the ice than it is without him. But at some point, bad luck starts to seem like a bad habit. At that point, people get sour and there is the possibility that McDavid’s greatness starts being counted against him.

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